Monday, December 29, 2014

Research, research, research.....

As 2014 comes to a close, I have been busy preparing for my little one to arrive within the next 6 months. It seems totally insane that this time next year I will be picking bits of wrapping paper out of my couch and chasing after the tornado of smiles and toys that is my soon-to-be four year old daughter. :)
So how have I been preparing? Just as any mother would, I have become an information junkie on the following topics:

  • Adoption from China from the perspective of the Birth Mother (Currently reading Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love. Amazing, enlightening, and gut-wrenching all wrapped into an eloquent account of the reality of having to give up a child.)
  • How to prepare my extended family and friends for the new arrival (Waiting to start the book: In on It:What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends. I have heard good things about this one- I will get back to you on this as to its actual helpfulness...)
  • Adoption fundraising options. Personally, this is a very sensitive subject and I am treading lightly, but even so, the generosity and support of my friends and family has been overwhelming. This is an AMAZING site by Ami over at Walking by the Way:
  • Possible hotel locations in Taiyuan and Guangzhou to estimate travel costs. Any suggestions would be amazing!
I am hopeful that everyone reading this will have a Happy and Healthy New Year. I am thankful for all I have learned in 2014 and look forward to the lessons of 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Year End Contributions :)

As the clock ticks on the remaining moments of 2014, I would like to reflect on the phone calls, conversations and emails that have brought me to this point in my life. Every second I move closer and closer to bringing my little one home- days it is just a letter or notary stamp away. :) 
As I wait for the last 2 documents for my dossier, the unfortunate realization is that I am also closer to my obligation of adoption fees. Through the generosity of many of my friends and family, we have already raised over $1500. A great sum, but a drop in the bucket of legal fees, registrations, and "mandatory donations". As uncomfortable as it makes me, I would like to ask that if you are still contemplating making a tax-deductible donation for the 2014 year, please consider helping our family. Any amount helps and brings us that much closer to having our little one home safe and sound. Also, if your company matches donations, this would be a great excuse to exercise that company benefit. :) 

You can donate by mailing your donation to:
Cradle of Hope Adoption Center
8630 Fenton St 
Suite 310
Silver Springs, MD 20910
FBO: Zhang Guan Ning
ATTN: Chris Blimmel 

Cradle of Hope will send you a letter confirming your donation for tax purposes. 

By clicking on the link below:

Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Adoption Struggles

Throughout my research of adoption, I have come to learn that this process is not celebrated without the undertone of loss. Individuals that think otherwise are sadly unprepared or in denial about the fact that in order for my family to come to fruition with the addition of my beautiful little girl, there is a family some where in the world missing a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a grand daughter.

This insightful article offers a small glimpse into the loss, feelings, and reality of international adoption. As I post this, I feel lucky that I have such an amazing support system to help endure the certain trials and tribulations that will accompany this process. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Reflection on Adoption

Friday, December 5, 2014

To the middle of China....

My original plan for international adoption had me traveling to the "Pearl of Africa" -Uganda. After the closure of the Ugandan adoption program by my agency (the best choice when dealing with anything less than 100% ethical), I was referred to the China program.
I had never really considered China as an option for a single woman, so Asia seemed to be the next continent on my travel list.

My LO is located in capitol city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province. For more info on Taiyuan, click HERE.

I am so lucky to be heading to such a new and exciting place that has been home to my little Elizabeth for the last 3 years. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


As we are all wrapping up our Thanksgiving celebrations of last week (Yes...I know all of you still have some turkey left in the fridge....) I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all of my amazing friends and family that have helped me reach this part of my adoption journey. There are bound to be some bumps in the road ahead, some I am anticipating, others soon to be discovered, but without all of you this endeavor would have never been possible.

I was lucky enough to be in touch with many of these fine people over the holiday break, and was asked numerous times how they could help. Besides the unwavering moral support (and promises to baby-sit... ) a few have offered to help donate to get my little kiddo home from China.

Today being #GivingTuesday, I ask that if you do decide to give, please think of my little Elizabeth and help to get her home. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers matching donations, please consider us as well- the charity assisting with our fundraising is a non-profit!

We have a long way to go, but I know that we will get there!! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Public Service Announcement :)

Through my exhaustive research of the adoption process, I have come across many blog posts, videos, books and accompanying literature that addresses the language associated with adoption. Now, those of you that know me well would  agree that I am not, at times, the most politically correct individual..... So this cute video brought to you by Rain City Church to address all of the well-intentioned comments and questions directed towards adoptive families.

If You Wouldn't Say it About a Boob Job.....

On a moderately serious note, check out this list from which explain some Positive Adoptive Language

Always the teacher, I would hope this post provides an illuminating look at the perspective of adoptive families and children.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

National Adoption Day!!!

November is Adoption Month and is a great way to inform people about the process and importance of adoption, as well as to clear up many misconceptions.
Check out this link to learn more about adoption and foster care in the US:
National Adoption Day
November 9th was the first-ever World Adoption Day (and also my little Beth's birthday!). Check out this video to learn more:
World Adoption Day

Friday, November 21, 2014

The paper chase...

The entire adoption process relies heavily on "paper work". I have and will continue to spend hours every week completing the necessary documentation. Now, you may be wondering, how hard could it be to fill out a couple forms??
umm....... First of all, waaay more than a couple. Second, this is not a simple fill-in-the-blanks and be done with it process. Third, there is an entire acronym-filled language you need to learn just to understand the "where to send" and "What are these for" concerning the forms.

Just so you can understand a small sampling....: I-800a for for USCIS
This form is a general informational form (9 pages for the main form, another 4 for the required Supplement 1 and 3....) that serves to inform USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) that you are interested in adopting one or two children from a specific (Hague) country. (If the country is not part of the Hague Treaty, you need to use a different form first.... ). It must be completed and sent, along with a nice fat check, to a lock box facility, where it will then be sent to OK, then processed, after this point it will be reviewed. Following review, if approved the recipient will receive a letter to be fingerprinted (again- but this time at a USCIS facility) and the form returned for final approval of background check. If not approved, additional documentation may need to be submitted, or you have to start all over.
Once this process is complete, you can then take the I-800a approval, along with the rest of your dossier (more on this later....) and send it to the country from which you are attempting to adopt (this is, after the "authentication" process- more on this later...).

Is your head spinning yet??? Mine is....

Monday, October 13, 2014

How I got here

I took careful consideration into how I would begin the story of my journey. Coincidentally, that is the same approach I took when beginning my adoption journey. So how did I get here? Let me explain....

-I have always wanted to adopt, finding adoption programs on television more endearing than those focusing on birth stories....

-I refuse to have the screams of my overcharged ovaries rationalize away the red flags of any relationship I may enter.

-I have always wanted children that would have amazing childhood memories of spending time with grandparents like I had with mine.

-I am now 33, quickly approaching the "scary reproductive" age and recently made aware of the fragility and stress that accompanies those that may be "reproductively challenged".

-Adoption has always been, and will always be, in my family-creation plan.

I am I a little bit crazy? More likely than not.... Will this be a challenge? Every day. Have I been met with well intentioned cautionary tales? Yes, and I expect to be on the receiving end of many more.

This is not a decision that was made in haste or lightly by any means. While sharing my story I have found an abundance of interest and support among my family and friends- restoring my faith in the choice of individuals with who I surround myself. I have also been faced with adversarial remarks and doubt, illuminating those individuals with whom I will limit my precious time and interactions. Above all, this is about the joy of bringing the opportunity of a family for myself and a child somewhere in this world.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The first steps

This is my first post and verbalization of this crazy, exciting, nerve-wracking journey to motherhood. I am terrified because the word is out- my family has been told and now comes the deluge of questions, comments, advice and stories. This blog will be an attempt to outline, share, and vent during my choice to become a mom. Welcome!

So to help explain my choice (not that I have to...) but in the spirit of "all questions come from a place of wonder" and "each question is an invitation to learn" I will explain how I got to be a 33 year old single science teacher on my way to Uganda.